Spring Greetings From Sean Brennan
Spring is a very busy time at VA! After the “winter that was not” we are all happy to be out and about on our beautiful campus. We celebrated Earth Day on Thursday, April 19th with all of our students, faculty and staff working on community service projects both on campus and in the surrounding area. Following a delicious localvore lunch, 150 students and teachers from the Saxtons River Elementary School joined us for an afternoon of fun activities on Alumni Field. Additionally on that day, we held a blood drive in conjunction with the American Red Cross with over 40 people donating. It was truly an outstanding day in Saxtons River and the weather could not have been any better! Click here for all of the pictures from Earth Day.
The excitement will continue on campus throughout the spring. On May 4th, we will gather to dedicate the Class of 2011 Great Room and the Salzman Library. This newly renovated space on the second floor of Fuller Hall brings an historical landmark of Vermont Academy back to life. When Vermont Academy was founded in 1876, by a group of New England Baptist ministers, one of the central spaces in the main building was a chapel in which the community would gather. This chapel was on the second floor of Fuller Hall. When the Academy evolved into a non-denominational institution, the chapel space became an auditorium and theater for performing arts and community gatherings. It served in that capacity for many years.
When the beautiful Horowitz Performing Arts Center was completed in 2006 the old auditorium space on the second floor of Fuller lied fallow for a number of years due, in large part, to ADA regulations which required any renovation to include the addition of an elevator and handicapped bathrooms. In 2010, the Board of Trustees gave its support for a fundraising effort to reconfigure the space into a Great Room and Library. The project included the restoration of two beautiful stained glass windows on the east and west ends of the room.
We approached the parents and students of the Class of 2011 to spearhead the project, and their support yielded close to $300,000 toward the cost of the project. Additional funds were raised to bring the total to the needed $840,000. The end result is an amazing space for our entire community. In addition, of course, we now have improved accessibility in Fuller Hall. We look forward to welcoming members of the Vermont Academy family back on May 4th for the dedication of the space and a celebration of the generosity which made its renovation possible.
Because we had such great success with the Class of 2011, we have launched a similar effort with the Class of 2012. This year’s project is focused on recognizing the outstanding faculty who work with our talented students. After discussion with students and parents from the Class of 2012, we have decided that the best way to thank and support those teachers is to build additional faculty housing on campus.
The goal of $300,000 will provide a three-bedroom, free-standing faculty home for a faculty family. At the writing of this article, we have raised $200,000 in pledges and gifts, and we are confident that we will reach our goal by Commencement on May 26th. If you are a parent of a member of the Class of 2012, please join us in supporting this initiative which thanks the wonderful teachers at Vermont Academy.